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Sangwoo Lee, Ronald Davis, Lawrence W. Judge, Young-Hoo Kwon, Kihoon Han, Jemin Kim, Jaewoong Kim and Jaehwa Kim

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships among release factors (speed, height, and angle) and distance thrown in Paralympic seated shot put. Fortyeight trials performed by 11 men and 5 women during the 2012 US Paralympic trials in track and field were analyzed. With both genders combined, release speed (r = .95, p < .01) and angle (r = .51, p < .01) showed significant correlations to distance thrown. Release speed (r = .94, p < .01) in men and all release factors (r = .60–.98, p < .02) in women showed significant correlations to distance. Release speed and angle were identified as important predictors of the distance, explaining over 89–96% of the variance in distance thrown. Unlike athletes without disability, seated shotputters exhibited significant positive speed–angle correlations (combined: r = .37, p < .01; women: r = .57, p = .03). Application of these results should address a focus in training on generating speed through the release point with a consistent release angle.

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Paul G. Taylor, Raul Landeo and Jennifer Coogan

The purpose of this study was to explore movement variability of throwing arm and ball release parameters during the water polo shot and to compare variability between successful (hit) and unsuccessful (miss) outcomes. Seven injury free, subelite, females completed 10 trials of the 5 m water polo penalty shot. Intraindividual coefficient of variation percentage (CV%) values were calculated for elbow and wrist angular displacement, wrist linear velocity and ball release parameters (height, angle and velocity). Coordination variability (elbow/wrist angular displacement) was calculated as the CV% of the mean cross-correlation coefficient. Elbow and wrist displacement variability decreased to 80% of throwing time then increased toward release. Wrist linear velocity variability reduced toward release. Individual CV% values ranged between 1.6% and 23.5% (all trials), 0.4% and 20.6% (hit), and 0.4% and 27.1% (miss). Ball release height and velocity variability were low (< 12%; all trials) whereas release angle variability was high (>27%; all trials). Cross-correlation results were inconclusive. Roles of the elbow and wrist in production of stable ball release height and velocity and control of the highly variable release angle in the water polo shot are discussed and suggested for further study. Optimal levels of variability warrant future investigation.

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David Whiteside, Douglas N. Martini, Ronald F. Zernicke and Grant C. Goulet

Purpose:

With a view to informing in-game decision making as it relates to strategy and pitcher health, this study examined changes in pitching-performance characteristics across 9 innings of Major League Baseball (MLB) games.

Methods:

129 starting MLB pitchers met the inclusion criteria for this study. Pitch type, speed, ball movement, release location, and strike-zone data—collected using the MLB’s ball-tracking system, PITCHf/x—were obtained for 1,514,304 pitches thrown from 2008 to 2014.

Results:

Compared with the 1st inning, the proportion of hard pitches thrown decreased significantly until the 7th inning, while the proportions of breaking and off-speed pitches increased. Significant decreases in pitch speed, increases in vertical movement, and decreases in release height emerged no later than the 5th inning, and the largest differences in all variables were generally recorded between the 1st inning and the late innings (7–9). Pitchers were most effective during the 2nd inning and significantly worse in innings 4 and 6.

Conclusion:

These data revealed that several aspects of a starting pitcher’s pitching characteristics exhibited changes from baseline as early as the 2nd or 3rd inning of an MLB game, but this pattern did not reflect the changes in his effectiveness. Therefore, these alterations do not appear to provide reasonable justification for relieving a starting pitcher, although future work must address their relevance to injury. From an offensive standpoint, batters in the MLB should anticipate significantly more hard pitches during the early innings but more breaking and off-speed pitches, with decreasing speed, as the game progresses.